Russian President Vladimir Putin called the Philippines a “very important partner of Russia” during the bilateral meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte in Sochi on Thursday, October 3.
“I would like to highlight that the Philippines is a very important partner of Russia in Asia. Our bilateral cooperation is constructive and mutually beneficial but our friendly relationships between our two countries,” he said.
Putin also credited Duterte for “expanding the multifaceted cooperation between Russia and the Philippines,” saying that due to Duterte’s “personal attention,” the two countries have “revitalized our political dialogue.”
Duterte is currently on a five-day official visit to mark the country’s first port call to Russia after two of the Russian Navy’s own port calls to Manila last year. It is his fourth meeting since 2016 with Putin.
Duterte, in his opening speech, thanked Putin for inviting him to Russia to attend the Valdai Forum, adding that he always looks forward to returning to the country.
“I am here today to reaffirm our strong commitment and to build a robust and comprehensive partnership with the Russian Federation. In the past two years, we have seen a dramatic increase in bilateral activities across many areas of cooperation at various levels of government,” he said.
He added, “We have also made historic firsts in the key strategic areas from economic defense, security and military technical cooperation.”
In May 2017, Duterte had to cut short his first trip to Russia amid the siege of Marawi City.
“Over the last two years you have managed to lower the level of terrorist threat in your country and to strengthen the potential of your security bodies,” Putin told Duterte.
“We are prepared to develop our partnership when it comes to countering terrorism and share our experience and all the developments,” he added.
According to presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the meeting between Duterte and Putin is one of the official significant highlights of Duterte’s trip to Russia.
“The Palace considers this meeting as one of the significant highlights of Duterte’s official trip to Russia, and we look forward to the President’s participation in the subsequent events that will be held both here in Sochi and in Moscow,” he said in a statement.